“After Alden: An Architectural History of Lake Jackson”
by Marty Merritt
Lecture and Book Signing
Sunday, October 27, 2019
United Church of Christ
4100 Chestnut Hill Dr, Midland, MI 48642
Mid-Century Modern Midland (MCMM) is excited to present a lecture and book signing: “After Alden: An Architectural History of Lake Jackson”. Marty Merritt, author of the book, After Alden, will be in Midland to discuss his research and to sign copies of his recently released book on the architecture of Lake Jackson, Texas. This public event will be Sunday, October 27th, 2019 beginning at 1 pm at the United Church of Christ, 4100 Chestnut Hill Dr., Midland, MI 48642.
Few architects have the opportunity to design a whole community, but Alden B. Dow had just such a unique opportunity in 1941 in Lake Jackson, Texas. Dow Chemical was expanding its plant in Freeport and the new town was to be built nearby for its employees. In the space of five years, he laid out the streets and designed housing and community structures for this new town on the Gulf Coast connecting his Midland heritage to this World War II era project.
In all, about 50 house plans in his signature clean, modern style were offered to buyers. Most had in common functional frame construction with clapboard siding, wide eaves, generous windows, a living room with a dining alcove, two or three bedrooms, a screened porch, and a carport. Homes were set back 25 feet from the front property line and 10 feet on each side, allowing plenty of breathing room between neighbors. About 500 single-family homes and another 200 duplexes were built in a garden setting of trees, parks, and lakes.
After Alden tells the architectural story of the Freeport and Lake Jackson area in the years after Alden B. Dow’s pioneering wartime projects. Focusing on the 1950s and 1960s, the book identifies every major architect who did significant work in the region and highlights several remarkable owner-designed houses. The book features new images by architectural photographer Benjamin Hill.
Marty Merritt is a Lake Jackson native, a member of the board of Houston MOD, and a member of the Lake Jackson Historical Association. Through his work as the Facilities Manager of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, he grew to appreciate architecture, and through his participation in Houston MOD he came to realize that he grew up with mid-century buildings and houses all around him. This book is the result of that realization.
Books will be available to purchase prior to the event at The Alden B. Dow Home and Studio. They will also be available on the day of the event at the book signing.